Should pole barn posts be set in concrete?

Pole barns have become a popular choice for agricultural and storage buildings due to their cost-effectiveness and ease of construction. These structures are typically made up of wooden posts that support the roof and walls, with the option of adding a concrete foundation. One of the most debated topics when it comes to pole barn construction is whether the posts should be set in concrete or not. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of setting pole barn posts in concrete and help you make an informed decision for your next construction project.

Pros of Setting Pole Barn Posts in Concrete:

1. Increased Stability and Durability:

One of the main advantages of setting pole barn posts in concrete is the increased stability and durability it provides. Concrete is a strong and durable material that can withstand heavy loads and adverse weather conditions. By setting the posts in concrete, you are creating a solid foundation that will prevent the structure from shifting or leaning over time.

2. Protection from Moisture:

Moisture is one of the biggest enemies of wooden structures. When the posts are set in concrete, they are lifted off the ground, which prevents them from coming into direct contact with moisture. This helps to prevent rot and decay, which can significantly reduce the lifespan of a pole barn.

3. Easier Installation:

Setting pole barn posts in concrete can make the installation process easier and more efficient. The concrete acts as a guide for the posts, ensuring that they are set in the correct position and at the right depth. This can save time and effort during the construction process, especially for those who are not experienced in building pole barns.

4. Increased Resale Value:

If you plan on selling your property in the future, having a pole barn with posts set in concrete can increase its resale value. This is because potential buyers will see it as a well-built and durable structure that requires minimal maintenance. It can also be seen as an added bonus for those looking to use the pole barn for agricultural or storage purposes.

Cons of Setting Pole Barn Posts in Concrete:

1. Higher Cost:

One of the main drawbacks of setting pole barn posts in concrete is the additional cost. Concrete can be expensive, and the more posts you have, the higher the cost will be. This can significantly increase the overall cost of your pole barn construction project.

2. Limited Adjustability:

Once the posts are set in concrete, they become fixed in place, making it difficult to make any adjustments in the future. This can be a problem if you need to move or replace a post due to damage or other reasons. It can also limit your options for expanding or modifying the structure in the future.

3. Potential for Frost Heave:

In areas with freezing temperatures, there is a risk of frost heave when setting pole barn posts in concrete. This occurs when the ground freezes and expands, causing the concrete to lift and potentially damage the structure. To prevent this, proper insulation and drainage systems must be in place, which can add to the cost and complexity of the construction process.

4. Time-consuming:

Setting pole barn posts in concrete can be a time-consuming process, especially if you are doing it yourself. The concrete needs time to cure before the structure can be built on top of it, which can delay the construction process. This can be a problem if you are on a tight timeline or need the structure up and running quickly.


In conclusion, there are both pros and cons to setting pole barn posts in concrete. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of your project. If you are looking for a more stable and durable structure, setting the posts in concrete may be the best option for you. However, if you are on a budget or need more flexibility in the future, you may want to consider other options such as using gravel or tamped earth as a foundation for the posts. Whichever method you choose, it is important to ensure that the posts are properly anchored and the structure is built to code to ensure its safety and longevity.

Should pole barn posts be set in concrete?

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